PTI Mar 5 NEW DELHI: Northeast has been the hub of Indian football for over two decades and former India international Renedy Singh says the sport “flows like blood in everyone’s veins in the region”.
Aizawl FC took it one step beyond when they were crowned champions of Hero I-League in 2016-17, their debut season, thus reiterating the fact that football is an integral part of the culture in the land of the ‘seven sisters’.
“Football flows like blood in everyone’s vein in the region,” Renedy said with a grin.
“Football is the number one sport in the region and there is no denying that everyone just wants to play football. It is very important for the kids to engage in competitive environment from early on,” he added.
Even as Aizawl FC captured the imagination of entire country by winning the I-League, Renedy said Shillong Lajong FC‘s self-belief enabled others to dream in the region.
“Lajong’s performance in the Hero I-League and their consistency enabled others to dream. Lajong are the pioneers of giving young players inspiration in the region. They have set the tone for clubs from the region,” he said. And Aizawl FC proved that it is very possible that a champion can be crowned from the Northeast. Aizawl FC took Shillong Lajong’s example and moved forward.”
Reflecting on NEROCA FC‘s dream outing, Renedy feels the club’s run has been nothing short of “inspirational.”
“NEROCA FC’s run for the Hero I-League title this season has been inspirational for everyone in the state of Manipur and the northeast of India. They have done well and I hope they do well in their last match (against Kingfisher East Bengal),” he said.
“The Northeast has the potential of being a stronghold of football in India when it comes to club level and the effects of Aizawl FC and NEROCA’s dream run are being seen in the entire region,” he stated.